Saturday, October 23, 2010

Shopping: Camden Town

A couple of weeks ago, my mother was in town to visit me, so it seemed like a trip to London was in order.  The shopping is actually not bad where I am (you've got your Primark and H&M and Topshop), but there isn't much by way of handmade, small business type fashion.

So I really love visiting some of the markets in London and one of the ones that was introduced to me by my awesome cousin the last time we came is Camden Market.  She brought us around the last time and I bought some really cute clothes with her help. 

This time, however, my focus was the accessories.  I am an accessory nut and I have a massive accessory collection (if you are interested to see it), but I'm always looking for more.  I think a cool pair of earrings or necklace not only stand out, but also tell me a lot about the person wearing them. 

For example, I once met a girl who wore jewelled ear wraps that she made herself and that spoke volumes about how she felt about looking different, standing out and her taste. 

A great place to get accessories in Camden is in Camden Lock which, if you take the tube and come out of Camden Town, is at the end of the street.  The whole street is filled with vibrant, punky shops and people.  There are shops selling old Dr Marten boots for cheap, stalls selling brightly printed wellies, goth shops with the most crazy platform boots and even shops filled with nothing but leather jackets in every imaginable colour.  It's an amazing place to go, and even if you don't buy anything, there's lots to see. 

Also, if you've never seen locks, there are actual locks in Camden.  This is fascinating to me because I read something once about locks (Either it was E Nesbit's The Railway Children, which is a brilliant children's book if there ever was one, or some Enid Blyton yarn) and they described how locks work but I never actually managed to envision it until I saw the ones here.

 Imagining a lock is a real exercise but if you check out the picture above, it's much easier to figure out.  (If you, like me, are Starbucks inclined, the Starbucks has outdoor seating overlooking the lock and its zealous pigeons.)

Dress - Esprit.  Shoes - New Look.  Bag - Longchamp.
Tights - Primark.  Necklace - Etsy.  Earrings - The Cathay.

I wore my purple Esprit dress with layers which I was thrilled about because this dress is so sweltering in Singapore, you cannot IMAGINE layering the slightest thing over it.

Once in Camden Lock, we set to looking for cute, quirky pieces and in my mother's case, vintage-y ones suitable to her taste and age, in particular.

There are stalls selling everything.

Cool necklaces...

Vintage button earrings...

Button necklaces...

Amber jewellery...

Black and white handbags with vintage pictures on...


Leather diaries...



At several stalls, the craftsmen may even be sitting there making their wirework or carving stone and if you wish, you can stand there and tell them how to customise a piece you're interested in.  Also, you'll get the chance to see how they make it and ask them questions about their trade which I find fascinating.  And of course, if you see a pair of earrings that dangle too long, or a necklace which doesn't sit quite right, they can correct it for you on the spot. 

I bought a bracelet for Dhany from one stall where the owner showed me how he wove them from a special waxed thread.

Also, we checked out Covent Garden's market shortly after Camden and found that they were selling many of the same things, but at higher prices, so I guess the prices are probably better here in general.

At lunchtime, we went out into the square at the back of the building which sells food from all over the world.  It was entertaining to watch Turkish kebab men flirt with women next to the Indian vegeterian stall while the African stall owner stirred a massive pan of curry. 

We had some wonderful kebabs and a Spanish rice dish with veggies.

I bought a ridiculous amount of accessories which I thought I would incorporate into different daily garb posts but I thought I would show what my mom got first as she's since flown back to the Fatherland with all the loot.

She got three quirky broaches: A beautiful silver tree with real amber fruit on it, a crazy tri-metal rhino broach with dangles hanging on the bottom (she said she could even add her own) and the prettiest sterling silver wirework broach with clusters of pearls and real seashells.

I thought they were pretty durn cute.  What do you guys think?

PS  I plan to check out other markets the next time I head to London, so stay tuned for those!

PPS How can you stay tuned to a blog?!  You can only stay tuned to a channel, innit?


How to get to Camden Town:

Take the Northern Line on the tube to Camden Town station.
Shops are open most days of the year (except Christmas) but I believe they start wrapping up around 5pm
Camden Markets website


Other ways I've worn this dress:

The little prom dress that did


thefacelessblog said...

wow these markets look so exciting to visit!

feel free to visit/comment on my blog, and follow me on google friends and bloglovin if u wish!

glad to have bumped into your blog :)

keep in touch. xx

Shoe said...

Thank you so much! I did check out your blog and leave a comment, will link in the sidebar!

Anonymous said...

mini observation: in the photo of all the vintage button earrings...the pink and gold button earring beside the yellow card that says 'vintage button studs' looks like the ones you're wearing in your latest outfit post. are they?

hanshen said...

it seems like just yesterday i was there! have to say seeing your blog makes me miss you (gay) but oh well. if you see a nice jacket(think army/leather) in H&M or one of those other stores, get it for me? haha

Shoe said...

Tragicurly!! You're back!! Hahaha well I'm wearing a white and gold pair that's an EXACT replica of the ones you saw, but smaller. Well spotted!

Hahahahah Shen you've said you miss me on a public forum. Now the whole world will know. *cackles* I will look out when I am in London again!

Anonymous said...

i've always been here. yep played too much spot the difference.

Anonymous said...

oh i miss camden!!! did u see the hot guy selling t-shirts?! ;)

Shoe said...

I miss you!! No... no hot guys, only one grumpy fart who complained too many of the vendors were Chinese!

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